Are you looking for a secure and affordable way to send money to Kenya from the United States? Here’s how to go about it.
According to the 2010 census, there are more than 90,000 Kenyan-born people living in the United States. Like the President, many live in the Washington D.C. area, but there are also seizable expat communities in Texas, California and New York, among others.
If you need to send money to Kenya from the United States, there are several ways you can go about it. It pays to compare your options before sending your funds to ensure that you get value for money from a trusted international transfer provider.
Banks versus money transfer companies
While you might think the best way to send money to Kenya is via your bank, many banks charge high fees and offer low exchange rates for international money transfers. Sending money overseas through your bank often costs more than it has to, which is why you should compare the services of a specialist money transfer company.
These companies offer better exchange rates than the banks, and you can quickly and easily compare the rates and fees they offer online to see how much money you can save. Some providers offer electronic transfers to bank accounts only, while others also offer cash pickup, mobile wallet payments and cash delivery services.
If you need to send money to Kenya, check out the exchange rate and fees offered by trusted providers like WorldRemit and Western Union to see how they compare to your bank.
John has travelled to the United States to work for a few years and save as much money as possible for his family. He wants to send $5,000 to his relatives but he doesn’t want to lose money in the form of fees or a poor exchange rate. He decides to compare the services of two money transfer companies to see if he can find a good deal.
|Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 100.43 KES||1 USD = 100.64|
|Transfer method||Bank account deposit||Bank account deposit|
|Processing time||1 business day||10 minutes|
|Amount received (in KES)||502,150 KES||503,200 KES|
As you can see, John has to pay an extra $11 in fees to use the second company and get his transfer to Kenya within minutes, but it also means his family will receive an extra 1,050 Kenyan Shillings.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Kenya
- Exchange rates. Even a small difference in rates can make a difference in the amount of Kenyan Shillings your recipient gets. Look for the best exchange rates but remember that they may come with high fees attached.
- Fees. Fees can vary greatly from amounts of less than $5 up to $80 or more. Some providers will offer fee-free transfers when you send more than a certain amount.
- Transfer methods. Common methods for placing transfers include online, via a mobile app, over the phone or by visiting an agent location.
- Transfer options. Some providers offer useful features, such as the ability to schedule recurring payments or place forward contracts.
- Turnaround time. From 10 minutes to several business days, processing times can vary dramatically different, which can be a crucial factor if you need to send an urgent transfer.
- Minimum amount. Some companies require you to transfer more than a minimum limit, so check what this amount is if you only want to send small sums.
- Pickup methods. Can your recipient pick up the funds from an agent location or will it be deposited directly into their bank account.
- Customer service. Will phone and email customer support be available if you need help? What about live online chat?
How to send money to Kenya from America
- Bank transfers. Many banks allow you to send an international wire transfer to Kenya.
- Online money transfer providers. Specialist money transfer companies offer online transfers to your recipient’s Kenyan bank account.
- Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow your recipient to pick up the cash you send from agent locations across Kenya.
- Checks. Sending an international check is a slow but secure way to send funds overseas.
Emergency cash transfers in Kenya
If you ever need to send an emergency cash transfer to Kenya, be prepared to face higher fees and lower exchange rates in return for getting your funds sent urgently. Even though you may be in a hurry, it’s always a good idea to double check the exchange rate and fee that apply to your transaction – the last thing you want is to be unaware of just how much you’ve spent to send your funds overseas.Back to top
Cash pickup locations in Kenya / Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Kenya
As the two largest money transfer providers in the world, Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to send funds that can be collected from agent locations across Kenya. Your recipient will need a transaction reference number and ID to pick up the funds, while phoning ahead to check opening hours may also help.
Here are a few popular agent locations in Kenya.
ABC Bank Eldoret
Oginga Ondinga Rd
Open 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 1pm Saturday
Bank of Africa Kenya Limited
Open 8:30am to 4pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 12pm Saturday
Open 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm Saturday
Ecobank Jomo Kenyatta
Habo Plaza Jomo Kenyatta Avenue
Open 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 2pm Saturday
Thika Road Mall
Open 8am to 8pm seven days a week
First Community Bank
General Warungu St
Dedan Kimathi Avenue
Open 9am to 3pm Friday, 9am to 11pm Saturday
National Bank of Kenya
Tom Mboya Rd
Open 8am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 3pm SaturdayBack to top
Tips for picking up cash in Kenya
Whether picking up funds in Kenya or anywhere else around the world, make sure to take a few simple safety precautions to prevent yourself becoming a target for thieves.
- Take a friend along as a deterrent
- Avoid travelling through any unsafe areas
- Don’t flash your cash around
- Be aware of your personal security and the whereabouts of your belongings at all times
How to send money to Kenya
Most providers will require you to sign up for an account before you can send funds. While the exact process for doing so may vary depending on the provider, you’ll usually have to provide:
- Your name and address
- Your phone number and email address
- Proof of ID
- Bank account details (in some cases)
Once you’ve lodged a transaction, you’ll receive a tracking number to monitor the progress of your funds.